I've been intrigued to start this thread for sometime now, and meant to do so on the debate board before the merge... Either way, now seems as good a time as any. I mean no offence by the subject matter, so just keep in mind that it's VERY generalized. We all know the cliche about friendships in real-life that involve the "popular crowd", eh? The whole concept that the only reason people want to be friends with (insert-random-popular-person) is because of their status and to make themselves look better. A lot of us would like to believe we're not that shallow and wouldn't use such means as a basis for our friendships. But how true is that really when you take a deeper look? I remember a conversation with a close online friend of mine a few years ago that recently resurfaced in my mind (and don't bother asking because I'm not giving names). During it they expressed this feeling of being liked only for what they could give and do; they felt used by everyone. Their school acquaintances, their co-workers... even their best friends. Whether intentional or completely sub-conscious, it wasn't their qualities as a person that they felt liked for but their abilities; their skills. Take those away, and all of the relationships would slowly crumble one way or another. Now, I highly respect this person and their insights because they tend to see things that the average person would simply overlook - whether it be out of ignorance or a lack of understanding. Even though I disagreed with their opinion of how I personally valued their friendship (and still do), through my own analyzation I've come to understand their point of view then a bit better. Watching people in daily life and online… The way many friendships seem to start… Think about all those times a person randomly drew you a piece of artwork, or someone who filled a sprite or banner request for you. Maybe it was simply that they answered your question, gave you a link to a website you wanted, etc. It felt nice, and you were very grateful for it. Maybe a part of that is simply an innocent feeling, but think about how you'd feel if nobody had responded, or someone had turned down your request. How many people look at someone else who's receiving all of these random gifts and feel jealous over it, wishing that they too knew the creator better? By that thought alone, you've basically said "I wish we were friends so they could give me stuff, too" and that your strongest reason for wanting to be friends is to use them. Just one example, but I could pull out many - some much more subtle (like someone giving you good advice and you looking to them for guidance. When the advice suddenly stops coming, you turn to other sources instead). Maybe once these types of friendships progress they become less selfish and more "real"… but maybe the honest reality is that they never do fully overcome that manipulative nature, and a part of them is always based on what someone can give back to you. Maybe that's just truly the basis of all relationships and it's not as bad as it sounds. The "give and take" nature of communication - it's all about what you can give and how you receive it. If you stop talking, stop giving, then communication fails and the other person is left staring blankly and poking you in the head. Since communication is a key to any relationship, if it fails the relationship itself can - and typically will - also fail. So… considering this, can we really call the nature of communication a bad thing? Both parties receive something from it, even if it feels otherwise at times, and that's what keeps the relationship going. It might have its interlaced selfishness's, but it's one both individuals hold mutually. I'm not sure if I made my point here yet or if I even had one (I tend to just enjoy a good ramble). How do you view the nature of friendships? Do you agree or disagree with what's been mentioned above, or do you just feel that, even if they all are selfish in nature, there's varying levels of said selfishness at the core? Before anyone jumps to conclusions, I'm just giving the observations as I've seen them - this in no way states what my personal feelings on friendships are. It's all really just "food for thought" and to get the discussion going.